FBI not sure it can help Arkansas, after all

FBI tells Arkansas prosecutor it doesn't know enough to say if it really can unlock that iPhone and iPod.

Rochelle Garner Features Editor / News
Rochelle Garner is features editor for CNET News. A native of the mythical land known as Silicon Valley, she has written about the technology industry for more than 20 years. She has worked in an odd mix of publications -- from National Geographic magazine to MacWEEK and Bloomberg News.
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The FBI is distancing itself from an Arkansas prosecutor's statement that said the agency will help unlock an iPhone and iPod belonging to two teenagers accused of murder.

The agency's office in Little Rock told the Associated Press Thursday that it doesn't have enough information about either Apple device to say if it can help the state's investigation.

"On March 28, 2016, FBI Little Rock received a request for investigative assistance in unlocking Apple devices," the agency said in a statement.

"The FBI frequently receives requests from our local partners to provide expert technical assistance. Such requests are considered on a case by case basis. At the time of the request, no information was provided regarding the device models or operating systems, so FBI Little Rock was not able to state if they would be able to provide assistance. The FBI does not currently have possession of the devices."

On Wednesday, Cody Hiland, a prosecuting attorney in Faulkner County, told the AP that the FBI had approved a request from his office and the Conway Police Department to crack the devices' defenses. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.